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UK issues 25,500 visas to Ukrainian refugees as millions flee from war

Randy Mancini 4 Mar 30
FILE PHOTO: Russia's invasion of Ukraine, in Odesa
FILE PHOTO: People from Kharkiv, who flee Russia's invasion of Ukraine, arrive at a train station in Odesa, Ukraine March 28, 2022. REUTERS/Igor Tkachenko/File Photo

March 30, 2022

LONDON (Reuters) – The British government said on Wednesday it had issued 25,500 visas to Ukrainians under schemes set up to bring in refugees after Russia invaded Ukraine last month.

Data from the Home Office showed that 22,800 visas had been given under the Ukraine family scheme that allows applicants to join family members in the UK, while 2,700 were offered under the sponsorship scheme which permits refugees with a named sponsor to enter.

The data on Wednesday also showed that 28,300 had applied for the sponsorship scheme, while the overall applications stood at 59,500.

With the number of people fleeing from the war currently running at over 4 million, the government has been under pressure to do more to take in refugees.

“We are starting to see progress … we need to do more and will be making further improvements to bring people to the UK as quickly as possible,” refugees minister Richard Harrington said in a statement.

Britain’s transport minister Grant Shapps said last week he had arranged to take in a family of Ukrainian refugees through the sponsorship scheme.

Britain has insisted on security checks and pre-entry visas to maintain control over who is entering the island, while the European Union, which shares land borders with Ukraine, has taken a less restrictive approach.

(Reporting by Muvija M; editing by William James)